Season 1, Episode 2: Past’s Presence with Drs. Arnold Parks and John Wright

About This Episode

Join host Connor Kenaston as he talks with Dr. John Wright and Dr. Arnold Parks, co-authors of African American United Methodist Churches in Missouri. Dr. Arnold Parks is a former sociologist professor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City and is currently a pastor. Dr. John Wright was a school principal for over 40 years. They speak to how the United Methodist church in Missouri interacted with and even, at times, contributed to the history of slavery and segregation in Missouri.

“Nat Turner was saying, the Church was one of the biggest problems in dealing with slavery. The sermon said to the slave “Be obedient,” “be kind to your master” and all those things to keep slavery going. The Missionaries went into the Black community and that was their theme: “You should be obedient. You should respect your master and do what’s requested. So the church played a major role in maintaining slavery ... ”

“You learned to make do. You learned to make a way out of no way. You learned how to function without resources. It’s a different way of operating, unless you are poor."

In This Episode

0:55  The Ugly Side of the Church and Race
5:00 Reuniting the UMC Church with Segregation
8:30 How Uneven Money Affects the Church
12:30 Declines in Historically Black Churches
15:30 The Centrality of African American Churches to Everyday Life
16:10 Fires
19:45 Experiences With Face and Race
21:30 Remember Who You Are and Whose You Are


African American United Methodists in Missouri